Imatges de pÓgina

his admiration. When I displayed my telescope and camera-obscura, the king exclaimed, “ While man next to God; black man know nothing."

The king, it seems, keeps his harem at a little distance from the capital, and once took the gentlemen of the mission on a visit to it. The ladies live in the midst

of a park, in small houses adjoining one another, and are allowed to walk about within the enclosure, but not to pass the gates, which are guarded by slaves. The number of these ladies, kept like pheasants in a preserve, was said to amount to three hundred and thirty-three.

The capital of Ashantee is supposed to contain about forty thousand inhabitants. It lies in a vale, and is surrounded with one unbroken mass of the deepest verdure. The houses are low and small, of a square or oblong form, and composed of canes wattled together and smoothly plastered over with a mixture of clay and sand called swish, which is also used to form their floors. The roofs are thatched with long grass. A piece of cloth passed round the loins and extending to the knee is the general dress of the natives. The richer class have a larger and finer piece, which they sometimes throw over the shoulders. They wear a great number of gold ornaments, rings, bracelets, necklaces, pendants, &c. and gold fetiches of every form.

While the gentlemen of the mission remained at Cummazee, a near relation of the king shot himself; among other ceremonies observed at his funeral, a slave was put to death by torture; and it was understood that human sacrifices were always a part of the funeral rites of all persons of consequence in the state. It is also said that suicide is very common among them.

Mr. Bowdich has been indefatigable in his endeavours to procure information respecting Ashantee and the countries beyond it. From one of the travelling Moors, he obtained, he says, a route-book at the expense of his orrn wardrobe and the doctor's medicines; but the fellow told him he had sold him his eye. The route from Cummazee to Tombuctoo, it appears, is much travelled; in the way thither, the next adjoining territory is that of Dwabin, with the king of which Mr. Bowdich also concluded a treaty. Bordering on this is a large lake of brackish water, several miles in extent, and surrounded by numerous and populous towns; and beyond the lake is the country of Buntookoo, with the king of which the king of Ashantee was unfortunately at war. He obtained also the exact situation of the gold pits in Ashantee and the neighbouring kingdoms, from which it appears that the name of the Gold Coast' has not been inaptly given to this part of Africa.

Mr. Bowdich learned from some of the Moorish merchants, who had formerly been at Haoussa, that, during their residence there, a

white man was seen going down the Niger near that capital in a large canoe, in which all the rest were blacks. This circumstance being reported to the king, he immediately dispatched some of his people to advise him to return, and to inform him that, if he ventured to proceed much farther, he would be destroyed by the cataracts of the river; the white man, however, persisted in his voyage, mistaking apparently the good intentions of those sent by the king to warn him of his danger. A large party was then dispatched, with orders to seize and bring him to Haoussa, which they effected after some opposition; here he was detained by the king for the space of two years, at the end of which he took a fever and died. These Moors declared that they had themselves seen this white man at Haoussa. This is unquestionably a more probable account of the fate of Park than that which was given by Isaaco, on the supposed authority of Amadou Fatima; and, as“ Moors do not destroy papers,' it is just possible that, by offering a considerable sum of inoney, those of this unfortunate traveller may be recovered through the channel of some of the Moors of Cummazee.

ART. V. Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus. 3 vols.

London. 1818. FRANKENSTEIN, a Swiss student at the university of Ingol

stadt, is led by a peculiar enthusiasm to study the structure of the human frame, and to attempt to follow to its recondite sources

the stream of animal being.' 'In examining the causes of life, he informs us, antithetically, that he had first recourse to death.-He became acquainted with anatomy; but that was not all; he traced through vaults and charnel-houses the decay and corruption of the human body, and whilst engaged in this agreeable pursuit, examining and analyzing the minutiæ of mortality, and the phenomena of the change from life to death and from death to life, a sudden light broke in upon him

*A light so brilliant and wondrous, yet so simple, that while I be. came dizzy with the immensity of the prospect which it illustrated, I was surprized that among so many men of genius, who had directed their inquiries towards the same science, I alone should be reserved to discover so astonishing a secret.

* Remember, I am not recording the vision of a madman. The sun does not more certainly shine in the heavens, than that which I now affirm is true. Some miracle might have produced it, yet the stages of the discovery were distinct and probable. After days and nights of incredible labour and fatigue, I succeeded in discovering the cause of generation and life; nay, more, I became myself capable of bestowing animation upon lifeless matter.'—p. 84-85. Having made this wonderful discovery, he hastened to put it in

practice; practice; by plundering graves and stealing, not bodies, but parts of bodies, from the church-yard : by dabbling (as he delicately expresses it) with the unballowed damps of the grave, and torturing the living animal to animate lifeless clay, our modern Prometheus formed a tilthy image to wbich the last step of his art was to communicate being :--for the convenience of the process of his animal manufacture, he bad chosen to form his figure about eight feet high, and he endeavoured to make it as handsome as he could -he succeeded in the first object and failed in the second; he made and animated his giant; but by some little mistake in the artist's calculation, the intended beauty turned out the ugliest monster that ever deformed the day. The creator, terrified at his own work, flies into one wood, and the work, terrified at itself, flies into another. Here the monster, by the easy process of listening at the window of a cottage, acquires a complete education : be learns to thik, to talk, to read prose and verse ; he becomes acquainted with geography, history, and natural philosophy, in short, “a most delicate monster.' This credible course of study, and its very natural success, are brought about by a combination of circumstances almost as natural. In the aforesaid cottage, a young Frenchman employed his time in teaching an Arabian girl all these tine things, utterly upconscivus that while he was

“whispering soft lessons in his fair one's ear, he was also tutoring Frankenstein's hopeful son. The monster, however, by due diligence, becomes highly accomplished: he reads Plutarch's Lives, Paradise Lost, Volney's Ruin of Empires, and the Sorrows of Werter. Such were the works wbich constituted the Greco-Anglico-Germanico-Gallico-Arabic library of a Swabian hut, which, if not numerous, was at least miscellaneous, and reminds us, in this particular, of Lingo's famous combination of historic characters --Mahomet, Heliogabalus, Wat Tyler, and Jack the Painter.' He learns also to decypher some writings which he carried off from the laboratory in which he was manufactured; by these papers he becomes acquainted with the name and residence of Frankenstein and bis family, and as his education has given him so good a taste as to detest himself, he has also the good sense to detest his creator for imposing upon him such a horrible burder as conscious existence, and he therefore commences a series of bloody persecutions against the unhappy Frankenstein—he murders his infant brother, his young bride, bis bosom friend; even the very nursery maids of the family are not safe from bis vengeance, for he contrives that they shall be hanged for robbery and murder which he bimself commits.

The monster, however, has some method in his madness: he meets bis Prometheus in the valley of Chamouny, and, in a long 'conversation, tells him the whole story of his adventures and his crimes, and declares, that he will spill much more blood and become worse,' unless Frankenstein will make (we should perhaps say build) a wife for him; the Sorrow's of Werter had, it seems, given bim a strange longing to find a Charloite, of a suitable size, and it is plain that none of Eve's daughters, not even the enormous Charlotte* of the Variétés herself, would have suited this stupendous fantoccino. A compliance with this natural desire his kind-hearted parent most reasonably promises; but, on further consideration, he becomes alarmed at the thoughts of reviving the race of Anak, and he therefore resolves to break his engagement, and to defeat the procreative propensities of his ungracious child-hence great wrath and new horrors-parental unkindness and filial ingratitude. The monster hastens to execute his promised course of atrocity, and the monster-maker hurries after to stab or shoot him, and so put an end to his proceedings. This chase leads Frankenstein through Germany and France, to England, Scotland, and Ireland, in which latter country, he is taken up by a constable called Daniel Nugent, and carried before Squire Kirwan a magistrate, and very nearly hanged for a murder committed by the monster. We were greatly edified with the laudable minuteness which induces the author io give us the names of these officers of justice; it would, however, have been but fair to have given us also those of the impartial judge and enlightened jury who acquitted him, for acquitted, as our readers will be glad to hear, honourably acquitted, he was at the assizes of Donegal.Escaped from this peril, he renews the chase, and the monster, finding himself hard pressed, resolves to fly to the most inaccessible point of the earth; and, as our Review had not yet enlightened mankind upon the real state of the North Pole, he directs his course thither as a sure place of solitude and security; but Frankenstein, who probably had read Mr. Daines Barrington and Colonel Beaufoy on the subject, was not discouraged, and follows him with redoubled vigour, the monster flying on a sledge drawn by dogs, according to the Colonel's proposition, and Prometheus following in another—the former, however, had either more skill or better luck than the latter, whose dogs died, and who must have been drowned on the breaking up of the ice, had ne not been fortunately picked up in the nick of time by Mr. Walton, the master of an English whaler, employed on a voyage of discovery towards the North Pole. On board this ship poor Frankenstein, after telling his story to Mr. Walton, who has been so kind as to write it down for our use, dies of cold, fatigue, and horror; and soon after, the monster, who had borrowed (we presume from the flourishing colony of East Greenland) a kind of raft, comes alongside the ship, and notwithstanding his huge bulk,


In the parody of Werter, at the Variétés in Paris, the Charlotte is ludicrously corpulent.

jumps jumps in at Mr. Walton's cabin window, and is surprized by that gentleman pronouncing a funeral oration over the departed Frankenstein; after which, declaring that be will go back to the Pole, and there burn himself on a funeral pyre (of ice, we conjecture) of his own collecting, be jumps again out of the window into his raft, and is out of sight in a moment.

Our readers will guess from this summary, what a tissue of horrible and disgusting absurdity this work presents. It is piously dedicated to Mr. Godwin, and is written in the spirit of his school. The dreams of insanity are einbodied in the strong and striking language of the insane, and the author, notwithstanding the rationality of his preface, often leaves us in doubt whether he is not as mad as his hero. Mr. Godwin is the patriarch of a literary family, whose chief skill is in delineating the wanderings of the intellect, and which strangely delights in the most afflicting and humiliating of human miseries. His disciples are a kind of out-pensioners of Bedlam, and, like • Mad Bess' or · Mad Tom,' are occasionally visited with parosysms of genius and fits of expression, which make sober-minded people wonder and shudder.

We shall give our readers a very favourable specimen of the vigour of fancy and language with which this work is written, by extracting from it the three passages which struck us the most on our perusal of it. The first is the account of the animation of the image.

• It was on a dreary night of November, that I beheld the accomplishment of

my toils. With an anxiety that almost amounted to agony, Í collected the instruments of life around me, that I might infuse a spark of being into the lifeless thing that lay at my feet. It was already one in the morning; the rain pattered dismally against the panes, and my candle was nearly burnt out, when, by the glimmer of the half-extinguished light, I saw the dull yellow eye of the creature open; it breathed hard, and a convulsive inotion agitated its limbs.

• How can I describe iny emotions at this catastrophe, or how delineate the wretch whom with such infinite pains and care I had endeavoured to form ? His limbs were in proportion, and I had selected his features as beautiful. Beautiful!-Great G-! His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath; his hair was of a lustrous black, and flowing; his teeth of a pearly whiteness ; but these luxuriances only formed a more horrid contrast with his watery eyes, that seemed almost of the same colour as the dun white sockets in which they were set, his shrivelled complexion, and straight

* The different accidents of life are not so changeable as the feelings of human nature. I bad worked hard for nearly two years, for the sole purpose of infusing life into an inaniinate body. For this I had deprived myself of rest and health. I had desired it with an ardour that far exceeded moderation; but now that I had finished, the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless ho:ror and disgust filled my heart.


black lips.

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